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Anatomy 101


Linda McDonald, RD
Trying to lose weight is always a challenge, but water can be a valuable, and easily adaptable component of a diet plan. Water acts as an appetite suppressant and is instrumental in breaking down and reducing fat deposits. 

As a nutritionist, I recommend to my dieting patients that in addition to exercise and sensible meals, they drink daily at least 1/2 ounce of water for each pound of body weight. It helps if water consumption is stretched out throughout the day, especially before and after meals. 

Many dieters are adverse to drinking water for fear that it will lead to water retention. The opposite is actually the case. What appears to be fat on overweight people is often retained water. When the body gets less water, it senses this as a threat and holds on to every drop. This results in the swollen feet, legs, and hands associated with water retention. 

Yet, studies show that when we drink enough water, the body eliminates excess fluids. When your body is breaking down fat, it needs even more water to help eliminate the extra waste that is produced. 

The American College of Sports Medicine notes that drinking an extra 1.5 quarts of water per day while dieting will maximize the loss of fat as a percentage of total weight lost.

"When your body is breaking down fat, it needs even more water to help eliminate the 
extra waste that is produced." 

As an added benefit, water is the most essential ingredient for the process of digestion of food and helps the body maintain proper muscle tone. In fact drinking water may help to prevent sagging skin which often follows a dramatic weight loss. 

When we're properly hydrated, the efficiency of our cardiovascular system improves, it helps to process foods high in fiber and even acts as a lubricant for joints. 

Drink water, lose weight and maintain your health. 

Linda McDonald, M.S., R.D., L.D., is a Houston-based Registered Dietitian and nutrition consultant. She is affiliated with the University of Texas, School of Allied Health Sciences where she is an Adjunct Clinical Instructor.


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Revised: July 31, 2015.